How beauteous are rouleaus! how charming chests
Containing ingots, bags of dollars, coins
(Not of old victors, all whose heads and crests
Weigh not the thin ore where their visage shines,
But) of fine unclipt gold, where dully rests
Some likeness, which the glittering cirque confines,
Of modern, reigning, sterling, stupid stamp: —
Yes! ready money is Aladdin's lamp.
'Love rules the camp, the court, the grove,' — 'for love
Is heaven, and heaven is love:' — so sings the bard;
Which it were rather difficult to prove
(A thing with poetry in general hard).
Perhaps there may be something in 'the grove,'
At least it rhymes to 'love;' but I 'm prepared
To doubt (no less than landlords of their rental)
If 'courts' and 'camps' be quite so sentimental.
But if Love don't, Cash does, and Cash alone:
Cash rules the grove, and fells it too besides;
Without cash, camps were thin, and courts were none;
Without cash, Malthus tells you — 'take no brides.'
So Cash rules Love the ruler, on his own
High ground, as virgin Cynthia sways the tides:
And as for Heaven 'Heaven being Love,' why not say honey
Is wax? Heaven is not Love, 't is Matrimony.
Is not all love prohibited whatever,
Excepting marriage? which is love, no doubt,
After a sort; but somehow people never
With the same thought the two words have help'd out:
Love may exist with marriage, and should ever,
And marriage also may exist without;
But love sans bans is both a sin and shame,
And ought to go by quite another name.
Now if the 'court,' and 'camp,' and 'grove,' be not
Recruited all with constant married men,
Who never coveted their neighbour's lot,
I say that line 's a lapsus of the pen; —
Strange too in my 'buon camerado' Scott,
So celebrated for his morals, when
My Jeffrey held him up as an example
To me; — of whom these morals are a sample.
Well, if I don't succeed, I have succeeded,
And that 's enough; succeeded in my youth,
The only time when much success is needed:
And my success produced what I, in sooth,
Cared most about; it need not now be pleaded —
Whate'er it was, 't was mine; I 've paid, in truth,
Of late the penalty of such success,
But have not learn'd to wish it any less.
That suit in Chancery, — which some persons plead
In an appeal to the unborn, whom they,
In the faith of their procreative creed,
Baptize posterity, or future clay, —
To me seems but a dubious kind of reed
To lean on for support in any way;
Since odds are that posterity will know
No more of them, than they of her, I trow.
Why, I 'm posterity — and so are you;
And whom do we remember? Not a hundred.
Were every memory written down all true,
The tenth or twentieth name would be but blunder'd;
Even Plutarch's Lives have but pick'd out a few,
And 'gainst those few your annalists have thunder'd;
And Mitford in the nineteenth century
Gives, with Greek truth, the good old Greek the lie.
Good people all, of every degree,
Ye gentle readers and ungentle writers,
In this twelfth Canto 't is my wish to be
As serious as if I had for inditers
Malthus and Wilberforce: — the last set free
The Negroes and is worth a million fighters;
While Wellington has but enslaved the Whites,
And Malthus does the thing 'gainst which he writes.
I 'm serious — so are all men upon paper;
And why should I not form my speculation,
And hold up to the sun my little taper?
Mankind just now seem wrapt in mediation
On constitutions and steam-boats of vapour;
While sages write against all procreation,
Unless a man can calculate his means
Of feeding brats the moment his wife weans.
That 's noble! That 's romantic! For my part,
I think that 'Philo-genitiveness' is
(Now here 's a word quite after my own heart,
Though there 's a shorter a good deal than this,
If that politeness set it not apart;
But I 'm resolved to say nought that 's amiss) —
I say, methinks that 'Philo-genitiveness'
Might meet from men a little more forgiveness.